By Lisa Kay , Robbie Fanning, M.A. , Darla Hatton
The first steps to take when you notice your child is struggling to learn are prereferral, assessment, or diagnosis (see A Guide to Finding Local Resources When Your Child Struggles to Learn). Once the reason for your child's learning problem has been identified, you'll know more precisely what he needs in order to learn. Where do you look and how do you begin this search? This article will help guide you through the four steps to discovering local resources:
Whatever type of specialist you're seeking for your child, you can turn to a variety of resources (people, organizations, and directories) for contact information. If you're not sure what type of specialist your child needs, review Specialists in the Learning Disabilities Field. Ask your child's teacher or IEP team what outside specialists they recommend to supplement the special services your child is getting in school.
Before you start calling people, make a list summarizing your child's situation. This will help you describe your child's needs in a succinct way. List these facts:
It may also be helpful to set up a resource notebook to organize all the information you will be gathering.
Some national organizations have systems in place to help you search for state or local referrals. The referrals are free, but the professionals to whom you are referred usually charge for their services. Some services, however, are free or low-cost, indicated in the list below by an asterisk (*).
Check with these national organizations for:
Ask your medical insurance company for a list of local providers covered by your policy. If you're looking for a specialist, find out if a referral from your child's pediatrician is required for insurance purposes.
The following national resources may have information about parent-training programs in your area.
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